Bristol City Leadership Programme – two winners for JCA Global EI bursary

The Bristol City Leadership Programme (CLP) helps high-ability, high aspiration sixth form students from disadvantaged backgrounds become future leaders. Prior to becoming the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees started the Bristol City Leadership Programme which is now in its 7th successful year.

JCA Global, a PSI business, has proudly been involved in the programme for a number of years. As a global leader in Emotional Intelligence (EI) in business, JCA runs a module on the programme called ‘Me, my personality and attitude’. JCA Co-founder John Cooper is a trustee of the charity and offers students the chance to apply for the JCA EI bursary each year.

Winners of the JCA EI Bursary

Two joint winners of the JCA EI bursary were selected from the 2018 student delegation. Each receives a £1,500 bursary to help fund their future development.

Joint bursary winner Nicholas Blatchford impressed with his ambition, intelligence and focus on applying to study Physics at Oxford, or Physics and Music Performance at Imperial College London. He wrote in his application, “Where I sometimes fell into the trap of believing only suited, Caucasian, middle-class males from wealthy backgrounds can thrive in today’s world, the success stories and examples of leadership shown by each of the guest speakers left me truly believing that I can one day achieve anything I set my mind to, as long as I can bring personal leadership and self-belief into the equation.”

Sawda Chowdhury, the second winner, is a highly socially active person, volunteering with a refugee group. She wrote passionately about the impact of CLP saying, “I now feel a greater personal desire to be in a position of leadership where I am recognised for who I am – a proud Muslim woman in the BAME community. I am more determined to make an impact, no matter how small the role/change may be, because all actions have powerful effects with the correct intentions. I am more committed to encouraging others to feel empowered to create change, because you either stay stuck in the shadows of others who speak for you, or you make a difference and speak for yourself.”

Betsy Varghese from JCA Global was part of the awarding panel. She got involved on her first week of working in the Cheltenham office as a Customer Support Advisor. She was quietly having lunch at work when John Cooper came to sit next to her. Being inquisitive, he asked about Betsy’s background. Having grown up in foster care and been homeless, Betsy was supported to apply to read Criminology and counselling skills at University of Chester, where she graduated in November 2012. Her personal story reminded John of many of the delegates on the CLP so asked Betsy to represent him at a dinner with Marvin Rees and the alumni of the CLP.

“I was over the moon,” explains Betsy. “Having that type of conversation with John, meeting the alumni of the programme, being part of the team delivering the CLP module and then helping to select the JCA Global EI bursary winners has been fantastic. I wish I’d been part of a programme like this when I was younger and someone had told me that I could be successful in life, despite what was going on around me.”

Presentation: A presentation to the winners was made on the 23rd January 2019 at 15.30 at Bristol City Council, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR (Room 1P01). Marvin Rees attended the presentation of the JCA Global EI bursary to Nicholas Blatchford and Sawda Chowdhury.

Bristol City Leadership programme – JCA Global bursary winners with Marvin Rees, Bristol Mayor



Bristol City Leadership Programme: Applications for the 2019 programme opened on the 7th January 2019. Students must be nominated by a teacher, lecturer or youth leader. For application forms email or visit

Applications must be received by Friday 5th April 2019.

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